Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Tuesday said women will get appropriate representation in the state cabinet.
Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on Tuesday expanded his two-member ministry by inducting 18 ministers, nine each from his rebel Shiv Sena group and the BJP.
The list doesn't include women, a move being criticised by politicians and women's rights activists.
"The objection that there is no woman minister in the newly formed cabinet will be addressed soon. Women will get appropriate representation in our cabinet," Fadnavis said in Pune on the sidelines of a programme.
He said the previous Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, comprising the Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress, also had five ministers initially and there was no woman in the cabinet, so they do not have any right to comment now.
In an apparent attack on the Sharad Pawar-led NCP, Fadnavis said, "The party whose two former ministers are in jail on charges of corruption has no moral right to put out the list (of our ministers)." The NCP put names of ministers who took oath on Tuesday on social media, highlighting their alleged corruption.
Former NCP ministers Anil Deshmukh and Nawab Malik are currently in jail after being arrested by the Enforcement Directorate in different money laundering cases.
Asked about the induction of Sanjay Rathod in the new cabinet, Fadnavis said Chief Minister Eknath Shinde has already clarified the stand on it and there is no need to comment.
Rathod, who was the forest minister in the previous MVA government, was forced to resign last year after BJP leaders blamed him for a woman's suicide. PTI SPK GK GK